Bicycling & Dinner w/Friends

We slept warm under our latest addition to the Roomba bedding list: a Rumpl blanket. But we elected to go without heat overnight, and when we awakened, it was a parallel inside/outside 40 degrees.

Although we heard the rain hitting the roof several times during the night, the sun arose shining brightly, and we were hopeful for a beautiful day.

We did not count on the wind being a factor, however.

As the morning hours progressed, the wind velocity did also. We appreciated turning the heat on during breakfast. At one point, a gust off the water walked our screen room a bit, so Jack jumped up to more securely tie it down from the windward side.

 

Our Screened-in Porch, in the sun with the pretty little redbud beside it.

The temps climbed during the day to the high 50s, but the wind was chill and fast. We finished the de-winterizing (except for dumping the bleach water from our tanks) hooked up the shore water, and I did the dishes from last night.

Alan and Mary said they’d come by and see the Alto set-up and take a short cycling ride around the park at 2PM, so we minded some additional chores, ate lunch, and then got ready to cycle. The sun on the east (entry door) side of Roomba allowed it to get quite warm inside, so we shut off the heater, and even had to vent a little to keep it from getting too hot inside.

Found everywhere along the way to the bathhouse near our campsite.

We tootled with Alan and Mary around the paved areas of Occoneechee State Park, and took a roller-coaster of a pedal down past the Cabins section all the way to the Equestrian camping section. From there, Alan remembered a rough trail that he thought Jack’s, Mary’s, and my bikes could manage (he had the only trail bicycle among us), but we decided it was a bit too rough. Next time we’ll have to come back with our mountain bikes and do the 7.5 mile Plantation Trail loop. The return along the roller-coaster road was an excellent time to get some interval training in, so I cranked it hard and worked up my heart rate.

Back at the campsite, we set a time for us to arrive at their house later for dinner, and parted company. I noticed that, when we got back to the peninsula on which we are camped, it is every bit of 10 degrees cooler here than anywhere else in the park. Amazing.

Still too much wind to put up the awning, so we just hung out a bit, doing this n’ that. Jack found that the screen room actually blocked a lot of the wind – or possibly, its lower situation gets it out of the wind a bit. He stretched out in the gravity chair and enjoyed the “porch” until he got too cold.

 

Our afternoon view from our bedroom window.

We both took showers and shortly thereafter, departed for Alan and Mary’s.
We’d been to their lovely home when they had led us on a bicycle tour exploring the Beaches to Bluegrass trail-in-progress, but I had frankly forgotten how stunning the place really is. (I cannot seem to link to prior content on this blog, but you can read all about that B2B trip in the archives). They designed it to have a vernacular, local barn appearance, with outdoor living space and plenty of room for guests.

We enjoyed a beverage and then took a hike into the woods, where they are creating paths and living areas. Our walk followed a small creek with interesting geology where the rocks are creating small, lovely, audible waterfalls.


  

 

Alan and Mary in their native habitat.

 

Alan and Mary are both teachers, as well as lifelong learners. They’ve been taking Master Gardener classes lately to learn about the intricacies of the ecosystems with which they are living and dealing.

This property is Mary’s family’s legacy, so there is an old cemetery they are trying to reclaim from nature’s roots and ravages, and we walked up there also to see the initial beating-back of the encroaching trees. They definitely have quite a lot of work to accomplish there, but Mary’s family isn’t the only one hereabouts that is involved, so Alan has been carefully marshaling support from neighboring individuals whose ancestors are also resting there.

The full moon had arisen over the treetops by the time we were headed back to the house, and I was surprised to have been able to capture some nice ones of the moon over their house.


Our dinner was Brunswick Stew and ham biscuits—completely evocative of the region and the way Mary had been raised. Delicious.

We indulged in a wee dram of the last of the single malt that we had bought and shared along the cycling paths of the most recent cycling trip we’d taken with Alan and Mary, to Nova Scotia. (Once again, unable to link to the blog posts about the trip we took to Nova Scotia last fall).  After which, we parted and drove the 10 minutes back to camp.

Lovely evening with excellent friends. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

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